THREE CHARACTERISTICS of an EFFECTIVE CHURCH: "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need." (Acts 4:32-35)
The church that was formed on the day of Pentecost was greatly effective in their known world. The core reason for such effectiveness was that this Spirit-filled community was united (“of one heart and of one soul”) with bonds of love. We can see three remarkable characteristics in this church that should be evident in any church that wants to be effective in the community:
- Great Power (v. 33a): The ‘great power’ is translated from the Greek word “Dunamis” that means energy, power, might, great force, great ability, and strength. There was a mysterious power connected with lives that were totally dedicated to the Lord due to dramatic transformations. This was the norm for the Spirit-filled and Spirit-led church, and God gave their testimony and the gospel they shared remarkable attractiveness and force (Romans 1:16).
- Great Grace (v. 33b): The power in the witness of the believers was their love and grace for one another in witnessing and living (see Luke 2:40). The word “grace” as used in this text refers to “operations of the power of God” (Acts 11:23). Just as God through His mercy has saved us by His grace, so that grace is manifested in great dynamic where the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives.
- Great Provision (v. 34a): One of the key characteristics of the first church was its lack of selfishness. The love of the believers towards Christ and one another manifested itself in giving. These believers were extraordinarily generous and responded to each other with gracious, Christ-like compassion. Such behavior was one powerful result of the outpouring of the Spirit (2:1–4), and this was Christian charity in its finest display. If we, too, are filled with the Spirit of Christ, then we should also respond to the needs of people with the love of Christ!